“Spider-Man: No Way Home” has officially unseated director James Cameron’s 2009 science-fiction epic “Avatar” to become the third-highest grossing domestic release in history.
After weeks of speculation over whether or not Peter Parker had the legs to bump the people of Pandora from bronze, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” collected the remaining $1 million on Monday to push “Avatar” — and its mighty $760.5 million at the North American box office — to fourth place in the record books.
Sony’s latest Spidey adventure, a culmination to Tom Holland’s web-slinging trilogy, has grossed a stunning $760.9 million at the domestic box office since launching exclusively in theaters in December. Those ticket sales are three times as much as the next highest-grossing movie of the pandemic era, which is Disney and Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” with $224 million.
For “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the buck may stop here. It would require an additional $100 million in domestic ticket sales to catch “Avengers: Endgame” ($858 million) at the No. 2 spot and even more to match “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($936 million) in first place. Nostalgia is a powerful force, but even that kind of comeback would be unlikely in the middle of a pandemic.
“Though ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ benefits from a much higher average ticket price than ‘Avatar,’ this does not detract from the enormity of this achievement coming during a pandemic-impacted marketplace,” says Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with Comscore. “It would have been unimaginable just a few months ago to think that the latest ‘Spider-Man’ film would even have a shot a leapfrogging over ‘Avatar,’ which has been a mainstay on box office Mt. Olympus for over a decade.”
Globally, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is the sixth-highest grossing movie of all time with $1.8 billion. Like its domestic competitors, Spidey’s cosmic challengers could remain beyond reach. That’s because the top five spots on worldwide box office charts — consisting of “Avatar,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Titanic,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Avengers: Infinity War” — have each cracked $2 billion. Without China, it may be unrealistic for “No Way Home” to reach that benchmark. So while Na’vi nation may have fallen in North America, “Avatar” will easily maintain its all-time global box office title with $2.802 billion.
Directed by Jon Watts, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has cemented several box office benchmarks over the course of its impressive big-screen run. During opening weekend alone, the film landed the second-biggest domestic debut in history with $260 million and the third-largest global start ever with $600 million. Eventually, it became the first pandemic-era movie to cross $1 billion at the global box office.
The third chapter in Holland’s trilogy takes place after Spider-Man’s true identity is revealed to the world, igniting global chaos and upending the lives of everyone he loves. Desperate to restore normalcy, he asks for help from Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose spell goes wrong and leaves the teen web-slinger face-to-face with villains from alternate Peter Parker timelines, including Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin, Jamie Foxx’s Electro and Alfred Molina’s Doctor Otto Octavius. Of course, those high-profile cameos weren’t the only reason behind the stratospheric demand to watch “No Way Home” in theaters. Once Doctor Strange’s spell ripped open the multiverse, it paved way for previous Spider-Man actors Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire to share the screen with Holland in a crossover event for the ages.